Confronting The Baby Gate
Chances are, this will be the first child-proofing thing you buy and for good reason! It’s your containment system.
With a lot of the products in this category, we either don’t have a clear recommendation, don’t recommend any. However, in this case, there is a clear winner. The Regalo Easy-Step Baby Gate.
There are baby gates on Amazon for $10 and there are baby gates for $200. The Regalo is $32 and it’s a steal at that price. It’s extremely easy to install, fits most standard doors and comes with an extension for larger doors and is reasonably durable. You really can’t beat it for the money. I have three of them in my house. They’re also quite easy to move to a different room if you find that you need to do that. It fits doors from 29″ to 39″ wide with the extension. And installation is tool free.
The gate is held in place by screws that you screw out that end in a plastic cup that is held in place by pressure against the door frame. Easy peasy! Just buy one or two. You’ll use them.
If only it were that simple and you only needed the Regalo. Unfortunately, it isn’t. In my house for example, I have a 6′ wide front entryway that steps down into the living room. I definitely don’t want baby escaping out through that large opening. The Regalo just isn’t big enough.
I opted for this one, the Summer Infant 6′ Wide Walk Through Gate.
This gate is just OK. What’s wrong with it? Well, a few things. First thing, it’s 3x as expensive as the Regalo. It costs a cool $96. Secondly, it’s definitely not a tool free installation. You’ll be drilling holes in your baseboard. Thirdly, the locking mechanism is really hard to engage – for anybody. But, if you have a 6′ wide space like the one above there aren’t a lot of options. And let me tell you, this is one of the cheaper ones. So you gotta do what you gotta do.
Which brings me to my third option: DIY.
I have another space in the same room as the gate above. There are two steps leading up to the bedrooms and a 70s style open iron gate. There’s no way to attach a gate like the one above. Initially, I bought this product, the Safety First Safety Railnet.
It’s only $15, but it’s absolute crap. It literally weighs about two ounces and is a thin netting that might be sexy to wrap your wife in but that wouldn’t stop a bird never mind a baby. The fact that they recommend this product for balconies is absolutely appalling. It’s so thin that it actually ripped on installation. It’s literally like fishnet stockings. Ridiculous. Thank god for Amazon returns.
I then went to Home Depot and looked around. I found some plastic garden fencing that looked like it might do the trick.
OK, so yes it looks a little cheesy, but here’s the thing. It works and it cost me $20. I took the plastic garden fencing which is like $17.99 for a 20′ roll and used gaffer tape to attach foam core on the ends. I then put velcro on that and made another similar piece that is taped to the fence rail. I also interwove the plastic fencing throughout the entire iron gate and finally, secured everything with bungie cord.
OK, so I’m not going to be featured in Architectural Digest, but the entire 14′ long iron fence is secure as well as the opening. For $20.
Summing up this category, my suggestion is to check on Amazon but when you are dealing with an unusual situation or one that there isn’t a good cheap fix for, just go to Home Depot, wander around and be a bit creative.
Here’s the the thing about all of these child-proofing things. They don’t have to be for the ages. They are going to be absolutely essential for a year or two and then you’re going to chuck them in the trash anyway. Also, you have a baby. If people visit, they’re going to be looking at your baby not examining your handiwork on your DIY baby gate. So just relax and wing it. You can do it dad!